Washougal, WA — The Washougal mayoral race came to an end today as City Councilman, Dan Coursey, conceded the race to Molly Coston.

By this afternoon, Coston had received 1,574 votes (54.39%) and Coursey received 1,230 votes (42.5%). Paul Godin, a write-in candidate, received 90 votes (3.11 %).

“As most people probably know I have been trailing in this race since election night, said Coursey. “Currently there is a 344 vote difference and we probably won’t be able to cover that with the few ballots left to count.”

“I have called Molly Coston and congratulated her as Washougal’s new Mayor. It was a hard-fought campaign on both sides, but I look forward to working with Molly, and for great things to happen here in Washougal under her leadership. Washougal is a great place and there will be opportunities to make things better in the future. I will cheer our new City Mayor on and help as best as I am able.”

“There aren’t words adequate to thank my many supporters and those that voted for me. I have been just blown away by all the kind help that everyone has provided. I sincerely appreciate you all.”

Coursey will continue to serve on the Washougal City Council. He has half way through a two-year term.

Coston will be sworn in on January 1 at City Hall.

“I am honored to be the voter’s choice for Mayor in Washougal,” said Coston. “I’m already working to become more informed, going through the 2018 budget, and have scheduled meetings with department heads and Mayor Guard. I’ll work hard to keep the trust and respect of council and staff throughout the new year, and reach out to collaborate with local agencies.”

On election night, Coston said she will also work to combat the homeless problem in Washougal.

“I really am honored that enough people voted for me — since I’m a newcomer,” said Julie Russell, who also won a Washougal City Council seat. “I’ll work with those who have been elected. We all have the same goals to support Washougal. Let’s work together to form a good relationship.”

Russell said she and Coston, as well as other newly elected officials, will start training for newly elected officials on December 2 in Vancouver.



Molly Coston, left, with friends and volunteers at her election night party.

Washougal, WA — The Washougal city mayoral race between Molly Coston and Dan Coursey didn’t have a definitive ending on election night with neither candidate claiming victory or conceding the surprisingly dramatic race.

Early results from the Clark County Elections Office show Coston with 1,091 votes (54.31%), Coursey with 848 votes (42.21%), and write-in Paul Godin with 70 votes (3.48%). Total vote count to-date is 2,009. Two-hundred-forty-eight votes separate Coursey and Coston.

Tuesday’s official results don’t factor ballots mailed in or dropped off on election day.

Coston campaign surrogate and Washougal city councilman, Brent Boger, is claiming victory for his preferred candidate. “It’s a solid win for Washougal,” he said. “Molly has the experience. When she took over briefly for Stacy Sellars as temporary mayor she handled the job very well. She fit in extremely well.”

State Representative Liz Pike, and Coursey supporter, has a different perspective.

“Only 248 votes separate the two candidates,” she said. “Republicans typically wait to send in their ballots, and those numbers will be reflected on Wednesday with the next update, and then with Thursday’s update. It’s not over.”


From left: City councilman Dan Coursey, Neil Cahoon, Ray Kuta, and State Representative Liz Pike.

When official numbers were made public after 8 pm Tuesday the Coursey camp was still optimistic.

“I thought the campaign would be a quiet affair,” said Coursey. “I didn’t know this would be so loud. I’m so glad all my friends stuck with me. I’ve knocked on over 3,000 doors, and each family has a different story. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people of Washougal.”

Coston filed to run at the last possible moment, and she said the race has been a challenging one.

“I jumped in with both feet,” Coston said. “I had a team that pushed me; that mentored me, and I really enjoyed door knocking. That was my stress reliever. I really loved talking to everyone. I’ve watched politics for a long time, and I really felt this was the right time to get in. Right now, we’re cautiously optimistic.”

Each candidate spelled out what they’ll do first if elected, and we’ll post those plans when a winner is officially declared.

Julie Russell won her Washougal city council race against Adam Philbin, 55.7% to 44.3%.

“I’m very honored the voters of Washougal voted for me,” Russell said. “I’m happy to work with whoever is elected to make this a better community.”

Camas Election Night Results

  • Melissa Smith defeated her opponent, Emilia Brasier, for Camas city council.
  • Steven Hogan won his race for Camas city council. He ran unopposed.
  • Shannon Turk won her race for Camas city council. She ran unopposed.
  • Casey O’Dell won re-election to the Camas School Board. He ran unopposed.
  • Julie Rotz won her race for Camas School Board. She ran unopposed.
  • Tracey Malon won her race for Camas School Board. She ran unopposed.
  • John Spencer won his race against Mark Forbes for Port of Camas-Washougal Commissioner.
  • Larry Kessler won his race against Adam Parsley for Port of Camas-Washougal Commissioner.

Other Washougal Election Night Results

  • Brent Boger won his race for Washougal city council. He ran unopposed.
  • Paul Greenlee won his race for Washougal city council. He ran unopposed.
  • Raymond Kutch won his race for Washougal city council. He ran unopposed.
  • Julie Russell won her race for Washougal city council against Adam Philbin.
  • Donna Sinclair won her School Board race against Jaron Barney.
  • Cory Chase won his race for School Board.
  • Ron Dinius won his race for School Board.

To learn more, visit

Election Night Images

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Washougal, WA — With just a few weeks left in the 2017 political campaign season, candidate Julie Russell continues her campaign for the Washougal City Council seat being vacated by the retiring Dave Shoemaker.

Over the past few months, she’s knocked many doors, gone through hip replacement surgery, and attend public forums to discuss her positions. Health wise, she’s recovered from her surgery and enjoys meeting with local residents.

So, what are the top reasons she’s running?

“I’ve always liked serving and making the community a better place,” says Russell. “Plus, I think we need to look at all options to address high utility bills, and do better community planning.”

The high cost of water is a hot topic among Washougal residents.

“So many struggle with high water bills,” said Russell. “I’ve met residents who re-use dishwater just to make ends meet.”

The city made some errors in the past, she said, in dealing with sewer systems.

“They didn’t upgrade sewer facilities in time and fell past state-mandated timelines so they had to build a costly system to keep the sewer safe and sanitary,” Russell said. “We’re currently using reserve funds to pay those bonds.  One option to address is to possibly merge with Camas or Clark County to provide a better water sewer and water.”

She also wants  to look at making improvements to blighted areas in Washougal.


Julie Russell is married to Evan Russell, and they have four children.

“There are areas where clearly code isn’t being enforced, so we need to do that,” she said. “Let’s get grants or set up volunteer community projects to clean up blighted property and spaces. Let’s work together to make these areas look better.”

She also wants to spend time on economic development, and do more to attract and keep businesses.

“The process to onboard new businesses needs to be streamlined so it’s easier to do business in Washougal,” she said.

Russell is running against Adam Philbin. We plan to feature his views in a future article.

Russell also has the endorsement of four of seven incumbent Washougal city councilors:

  • Dan Coursey
  • Dave Shoemaker
  • Michelle Wagner
  • Ray Kutch

Russell’s Background


  • George Fox University, M.A.  Master of Arts in Marriage, Couples and Family Therapy – 2012
  • Brigham Young University, B.S. Bachelor of Science in Psychology, AS Associate of Science in Travel and Tourism – 1983

Career Highlights

  • Julie Russell Family Counseling; LMFT, LPC, LMHC, RPT, Self-employed/Owner/Operator.  Offices in Tigard and Vancouver; 2013 – Present
  • LDS Family Services – Therapist, Adoption and Children’s Services; 2008 – 2013
  • Open House Ministries; 2011 – 2012
  • Avanti Destinations – Quality Control, Contract Management; 2001 – 2004

Prior Government Experience

  • Tigard Water District Commissioner, Elected Position – July 2007  to Nov. 2016
  • West Bull Mountain Planning Technical Advisory Committee – March 2012 to Nov. 2014
  • Chair-Washington County Citizen Participation Organization (CPO-4B)- Jan. 2008- Nov. 2016
  • Vice Chair-Washington County Citizen Participation Organization (CPO-4B)-July 2005-Jan. 2008
  • City of Tigard, White Paper Parks Committee – 2004

To learn more, visit

When former Washougal city councilwoman Molly Coston officially announced her 2017 Washougal mayoral campaign August 6 it set the stage for a vigorous Fall political season in a city rocked with leadership turmoil.

Coston is competing with Washougal city councilman, Dan Coursey, for the mayor’s position to succeed former mayor Sean Guard, who resigned earlier this year amid harassment allegations. A completed Washington State Patrol investigation shows a string of electronic communications between Guard and an unidentified woman that may result in the case being handled by the county prosecutor.

Following Guard’s resignation, Coston was encouraged by supporters to run for Mayor. And, this isn’t the first time she’s answered the call to serve amid unfavorable conditions.

Coston has been active in city politics for much of her 16 year residency in the city, serving on the city council from 2005-2011, and as Mayor Pro Tem in 2010 when former Washougal mayor, Stacy Sellars, abruptly resigned.

“There was a dispute about her mayoral policies,” said Coston. “And when Stacy resigned I spent three months as acting Mayor. It was a very difficult time filled with confusion and challenges. I gained a good understanding of how the city works. And here we are again.”

She said Washougal has been pummeled by turmoil which is why she’s created a vision for the city.

Top Reasons Coston Is Running

“I have a vision for Washougal,” she said. “And, it’s very bright. I want an engaged community with a focus on public safety, a vibrant economy, and continued improvements in transportation.”

Coston outlined a three-pronged vision for Washougal, which is as follows:

  • Economy: Create a favorable business environment for businesses by keeping government that is small and stable. Coston believes in working with private enterprise to create public-private partnerships to attract more companies into Washougal.
  • Public Safety: “We need more policemen,” she said. “I want to add one more per year as our economy and community grows. Our officers answer more calls than Camas does.” She wants to engage local neighbors and build community with more communication and involvement.
  • Transportation: Find a way to reasonably manage current roads and walkways. “As we continue to grow, we need solutions and the public-private partnerships are key to making this happen.”

Molly Coston

Community Involvement

As a city councilwoman, she was involved in the following:

  • Parks Board  (Council Liaison) 2005- 2011
  • Cemetery Board (Council Liaison) 2005-2011
  • SW Washington Regional Transportation Council-  2008-2010; Elected as Camas/Washougal Representative to serve on the Board of Directors. RTC Board of Directors Chair – 2010
  • Clark County Community Action Advisory Board – Director representing East County  2009-2011

She has served in the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club since 2004:

  • Club President – July 2014-June 2015
  • Local Foundation President – July 2015-June 2016
  • Community Service Chair – July 2016-present

League of Women Voters of Clark County, 2000-present

  • President 2007-2010
  • Board of Directors 2005-2012

Civil Service Commission: 2013-present

Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards, 2010-present

  • Board of Directors – 2014-present
  • President, 2016-current

Citizens for Better Schools PAC, 2005-present

  • Chair – Washougal Schools District Levy Campaign 2005 (successful)
  • Active Member – Washougal School District Levy Campaign 2008
  • Active Member – Washougal School District Levy Campaign 2014
  • Active Member – Washougal School District Bond Campaign 2015

Unite! Washougal Community Coalition, 2010-present

  • Long standing member of state funded coalition that work together to support youth, enrich community, encourage families, and guide healthy choices. 

To learn more about her campaign, please visit:

Washougal City Councilman, Dan Coursey, will officially kick off his Washougal Mayoral campaign tonight at 6 pm at the Port of Camas-Washougal office. The address is 24 S A St, Washougal, WA 98671.

Tonight’s event features special guest speaker Eileen Quiring, a Clark County Board Councilor. Also, State Representatives Liz Pike and Vicki Kraft, and others will be in attendance. Food and beverages will be provided, and the forum will give voters an opportunity to ask questions.

The first-term councilman has called Washougal home for the past for 12 years, and has spent years working in local politics as a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO), campaign manager, and general volunteer. The computer systems engineer says if elected he will go into semi-retirement to focus on leading Washougal.

“Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve promoted transparency, ethical behavior, and accountability,” Coursey said. “I strongly believe in those things. I respect the voter and the taxpayer. When I ran for office two years ago, I knocked on 1,750 doors — and you learn a lot when you do that.”

Reasons Coursey is running

The candidate discussed several reasons why he’s running: 1) Economy; 2) Affordable living; and 3) Create more recreation spaces for families in Washougal.

On the economy: “A mayor should be a leader and advocate for businesses to come into town,” he said. “A mayor should discourage over-regulation. For example [as a city councilman] I’ve voted against raising car tab fees.”

On affordable living: “Everyone knows that Washougal water costs are too high,” he said. “Let’s see how we can lower the water rates, and look at reasons why it’s too expensive.”

On recreation spaces: “One thing I learned knocking doors is that there are many young families who want more family venues in town,” Coursey said. “We did a survey in 2016, and the one thing Washougal voters wanted most was a community center. But, who pays for it? Some small part will come from the city budget, but we need a third party to come in.”

He said there are new development plans at the Port of Camas-Washougal, and he hopes that private owners can come to a final agreement so development can proceed. He says construction of that new development could provide a new venue for families.

“I’m very expense conscious,” he said. “We don’t want undo hardships on our families. If local residents are wiling to pony up for family venues, we can do that. I’m for good roads, and fixing them.”

He is running for the position that is being vacated by current Washougal mayor, Sean Guard, who decided not to run for re-election. His opponent is Molly Coston, who is a former Washougal City Council member that Coursey defeated two years ago.

“It’ll be a re-match,” said Coursey.

Coston will be interviewed in a future article.

On background

Coursey grew up in an agricultural community, and has been married to Margie for 22 years. She works as a project manager in the financial industry. Coursey currently works as a systems engineer, and previously worked in the banking industry doing technical projects, financial analysis, commercial lending and mortgage underwriting.

To learn more, visit



… not be silenced, to seek cross-river solutions

Editor’s Note: Lacamas Magazine offers a forum for all sides to express their viewpoints and opinions.

By Rep. Liz Pike

The Columbian, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt and some other local elected officials have a lengthy, well documented history of supporting a failed and costly light rail project between Clark County and Portland, known as the Columbia River Crossing (CRC). For years, these folks supported bringing Portland’s light rail to our community against the objections of our own citizens.

Liz Pike

Rep. Liz Pike, R-18

Entering into any agreement between Clark County’s taxpayers and an agency with Tri-Met’s financial woes ought to be troubling to every elected official in Southwest Washington. According to Tri-Met’s 2015 Audited Financial Report, unfunded liabilities are 459 percent greater than the costs of current payroll. It is estimated Tri-Met’s unfunded pension liability exceeds $1 billion. It is no surprise our local citizens have completely lost faith with the CRC’s promoters.

Beyond these details, there is no reason to re-litigate why this $3.5 billion – $5 billion light rail project, disguised as a bridge, had to be stopped in its tracks. It’s time to put all this behind us and move forward with affordable transportation solutions.

Fast forward to today, House Bill 2414 is a perfectly-structured bill to put an equal number of Democrats and Republicans at the same table, representing both chambers from two states. The legislative members of this Bi-State Bridge Project Work Group would be appointed by caucus leaders to ensure that all constituencies are equally represented in an open and transparent process. The group is tasked with identifying affordable solutions to meet current and future needs of the region and prioritize the sequencing of those projects.

For the second time in two years, HB 2414 sailed through the House Transportation Committee with unanimous bipartisan support — evidence this bill is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, there are a few legislators who still cannot get past the grieving process of CRC’s death long enough to work for the common good. It’s either their way or no way. So they operate behind the scenes to kill a perfectly good bill in order to advance their own political agenda. The result of that agenda condemns our hard-working commuters to worsening congestion, longer commute times, years of enduring a failing I-5 corridor, increased pollution, higher costs for employers, fewer jobs and decreased quality of life.

It is shameful these critics tear apart those who are actively working to find affordable cross-river bridge solutions, but offer no solutions of their own, other than the dead-and-buried CRC plan. Our citizens want forward-thinking leaders to work together and move beyond the CRC with new solutions. That was the idea behind HB 2414.

The I-5 corridor belongs to the entire region, not just the legislative district or the city where it is located. Washington is the most trade dependent state in America, giving this corridor both regional and national significance.

Clark County citizens have every right to have their voices represented by their elected officials in all discussions regarding new cross-river solutions. It is wrong to tell their state legislators to be silent and step aside just because they disagree with the mayor, The Columbian, and those on record who wish to force Portland’s light rail upon our citizens.

Voters in the 18th Legislative District have twice elected me to be their voice in Olympia. They support me because I demonstrate the courage to stand up for my constituents. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I will not abdicate my responsibility to identify and defend common sense and affordable solutions to improve freight mobility and relieve traffic congestion in this important corridor that serves our entire region, state and West coast. I invite people to join me, just as I did in HB 2414, because the problems will not go away on their own.

As Winston Churchill said: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

When it comes to my constituents, they deserve strong leadership that does not yield to intimidation. I will always stand with them and will never give in.

OLYMPIA, WA — Eighteenth District Representative Liz Pike has been appointed to serve on the House Local Government Committee.  The committee considers issues relating to the operations and financing of counties, cities, and some special districts. It also considers issues relating to the Growth Management Act and land use issues such as local permitting and the subdivision of property.

Pike, who served on the Camas City Council from 2003 to 2007, says the new committee assignment is a good fit that will allow her to utilize her past experience in city government.

Liz Pike
Lacamas Magazine Archived Photo: Rep. Liz Pike at the 2012 Clark County
GOP Convention at the Hilton in downtown Vancouver.

“During my time on the city council, I learned about municipal budgeting, ordinances, land-use policies and the Growth Management Act, as well as many other issues involving local government. I’ve walked in the shoes of the local elected officials and I know the challenges they face and the services expected from local government by the public,” said Pike, R-Camas. “I have six small cities just within my legislative district, so I’m looking forward to helping them, their constituents, and other local governments across the state.”

Pike said one of her priorities will be restoration of the Public Works Assistance Account, which makes low- and no-interest loans to cities and utilities to finance water, sewer and street projects. Last year, the Legislature used the money, $354 million, to help balance the state operating budget. As a result, no loans were issued. Pike said those monies are vital to local governments to provide funding for needed infrastructure. The sweeping of those funds was one of the reasons Pike voted last year against the operating budget proposal.

“I’ll also be working to limit unfunded mandates to our cities and counties that are working with limited budget authority. If we could reduce some of the financial burdens on our local governments, it would increase delivery of services to those communities and help our citizens immensely,” she added. “That’s the direction of change I hope to make with this new committee assignment.”

Open House

The open house is Friday in downtown Camas, from 4 to 6pm at Representative Liz Pike’s new district office – 415 NE Cedar Street. 

The address is 415 NE Cedar Street, Suite A, Camas, WA 98607. Pike’s office asks that you RSVP at 360-786-7812 or email

Pike emphasizes no tax dollars were spent to provide tonight’s delicious appetizers prepared by Susan Rosso Page. Enjoy lemonade, cowboy cookies and chocolate truffles donated by Shangri-La Farm and wine donated by Craig Stein of Stein Distributing.

“We’re very pleased with the location of the office and that it will give the constituents direct access to their representative,” said Pike.

Washington, DC –Jaime Herrera Beutler released the following statement today after voting against a proposal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit to accommodate its growing $16 trillion debt:

“I’m done kicking the can down the road. Congress and the President have radically overspent the nation’s credit card. We are borrowing 30 cents on every dollar to cover today’s spending. I believe that continuing this course risks destroying the economic security for virtually every American. I will only vote to raise the debt limit to allow more borrowing when, at the same time, I can also vote for the plan to reverse the current course.

“The President argues that I must vote to extend the debt limit because it is needed to fund obligations already incurred. My answer is this: would anyone consider loaning money to another person who had dramatically overspent on their credit card without also requiring a plan to stop the behavior in the future?”



Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3rd District)
speaks to a constituent at the Hilton Convention Center in Vancouver.


Lynda Wilson is the newly-elected Clark County
GOP Chairwoman. She has been a local business
owner for many years.

VANCOUVER — The Clark County Republican Party made major changes at their organizational meeting held on December 13 at the Heathman Lodge.

A record-setting 161 Precinct Officers attended the party’s organizational meeting, and were present to cast their ballots and consider proposed bylaw’s changes.

The party activists elected a new chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, state committee people, and five legislative directors.

The elected officers are: Chairman, Lynda Wilson; Vice Chairman, Steven Nelson; Secretary, Vicki Caldwell Kraft; Treasurer, Bryan Johnson; State Committeeman, James Randall; and State Committeewoman, Laney Maxwell.

Legislative Chairman/Directors are: 14th District, Douglas Kobilan; 17th District, Eric Heredia; 18th District, Kenny Smith; 20th District, Ron Fitch; and 49th District, Kathy Metzger.

Several activists viewed the election as struggle between mainstream Republicans and Ron Paul supporters, and several said several votes were extremely close. The party upheaval was orchestrated by the PCO Liberty Alliance, a grass-roots group of Tea Party advocates, libertarian Republicans, and values voters who primarily supported Ron Paul during the Republican presidential primaries.

“I feel like there was plenty of funny business going on,” said Susie Huckvale, a newly-elected Precinct Committee Officer, from Camas. “I think the way they handled Mary Graham’s (former 18 District Legislative Director) balloting was atrocious. It looked like something odd was happening. And the way it turned out a lot of Ron Paul people took over, and I feel like my party’s been hijacked by people who want to destroy it.”

Outgoing chairman, Stephanie McClintock, sees the change as a major upheaval. “Basically, the Liberty Alliance took over the Clark County Republican Party last night,” she said.

She added that she hadn’t anticipated a fight with her fellow Republicans.

Others feel that newly-elected Chairman, Lynda Wilson, has the capacity to bridge the ideological fractures that exist within the newly elected party leadership.

Long-time GOP activist, Brent Boger, said he feels hyper-partisanship is affecting the party at large – and that it’s not good.

“There is a gap between the regular Republicans and the Ron Paul people,” said Boger. “And some of those in between the gap got elected. Lynda Wilson is one of them. She formed an alliance with the Ron Paul people and those people won the day.”

In addition to electing new officers, the Precinct Officers adopted a new set of bylaws. One of the main attributes of the new bylaws is the enhanced authority of the PCO’s by emphasizing more grassroots involvement, making the Board more accountable to the Central Committee.

The Clark County Republican Party is an all-volunteer organization, and their next major event is the Lincoln Day Dinner.

“As a new board, our philosopy is that we work for the Precinct Officers,” said Wilson. “The Precinct Officers were elected by the citizens of Clark County. Also, a primary principle initiative is that of upgrading to new technologies, increase communication capabilities and continue with a new volunteer structure that supports our elected officials. We would like to extend our gratitude for the hard work and dedication of those that have served before us. Their commitment to our Party will always be appreciated.”

About Chairman Lynda Wilson: Lynda is a 40-year resident of Clark County. She and her husband, Tracy, are partners in a local family-run business established over 50 years ago and employing more than 100 people. Lynda has been politically active over the past four years as a PCO, and recently a member of the CCRP Board. She has been a delegate to County and State Conventions, Chairman of the We the People, Governmental Affairs Director at their manufacturing company and Governmental Affairs committee of the AWB (Association of Washington Business, also serving on AWB’s Health Care Committee. Lynda was recently appointed to the C-TRAN Citizens Action Committee (CCAC). She regularly attends Clark County Commissioner meetings and has participated in over 100 hours of Constitution classes, most notably the Thomas Jefferson Center for Constitutional Studies and the Freedom Foundation.